The School of Nel


Down a winding country lane lies the studio of renowned local artist-potter, Hylton Nel.

It is an industrious space, teeming with an ever-evolving ensemble cast of apprentices and a vast array of fantastical beasts, quirky vases, and whimsical tableware.

Hylton runs an informal set-up and there is a sense that anyone is welcome and encouraged to have a go.

Their work can be found at Chandler House in Cape town and at the Prince Albert Gallery

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”




Hylton Nel sells exclusively through the Stevenson gallery.



Melvin Wagenarr

With 10 years experience working in the Nel studio, Melvin is one of the longest serving of the current group of apprentices. Whilst he makes a variety of vessels, including vases, candle holders and cups, his favorite creations are rabbits, which can often be found leaping about, or lying and enjoying the odd book.

Baasie Gerhardus

Also with 10 years experience, Baasie has made a vast array of mythical beasts over the years and currently enjoys sculpting lions and dogs, and, of course has his own take on the ever popular Calitzdorp rabbit. 

Maxicano da Puentes

Max’s beasts of choice are felines, with the occasional warthog or mermaid to fill out the herd.

Max is currently 41 and a relative newcomer to ceramics with a little over 1 years experience.

Ruben Manuel

At 33 years of age and with 5 years experience, Ruben makes a wide variety of animal figurines and vases.

He is particularly drawn to horses, which often have human or other animal riders.


Jakob Wagenaar

The newest member of the gang, Jacob Wagenaar, with just under 2 months’ experience, may have spotted a gap in the market and is focusing his attention on reptiles.

Francois Julies

Our youngest apprentice, at 21, has already a year’s experience under his belt. Francois prefers to make small animals and dinosaurs.

Nico Nieuwenhuis

Our quietest apprentice, Nico, likes to make lions and dogs. He has been working in the studio for 9 months and is 34 years of age.

Contact any of the apprentices